Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I have been separated from my husband, "Fred," for several months because of his infidelity. He is pushing to move back in together and has been very insecure and overly clingy. He constantly accuses me of not paying enough attention to him, no matter what I do or how much time I spend with him.

Fred and I have two children, so this has been difficult for all of us. But I'm frustrated with his disrespect for my space and seriously considering divorce. I want to tell him, but I'm worried about his reaction since he cries every time I mention anything that implies that I might "give up on us." He was married once before, and told me that he had to stay with his brother for a while afterward to make sure he wouldn't hurt himself.

His family lives 400 miles away, and he wants to visit them soon. Would it be wrong of me to call him while he's there and tell him it's over? I feel he'll need support when he gets the news, and I don't want him to be alone. He's a good father and good friend. I do love and care about him, and don't want him to do anything that will hurt himself or his children, but I can't stay married to someone who cheats on me. Any suggestions? -- TORN IN PIECES

DEAR TORN: To stay married to someone because you think he might hurt himself would be giving in to emotional blackmail. Fred is clingy and needy because he now realizes what his cheating may have cost him. Of course it's a turn-off.

However, before ending the marriage, it's important that you understand your disgust with him is mixed with your anger at his betrayal. That's why you could both benefit -- and communicate more honestly and safely -- if you schedule some appointments with a licensed marriage and family counselor. If, during that time, you decide you still want a divorce, the place to tell him would be in the therapist's office. You won't be alone. He will have emotional support, and his family can be told immediately afterward.

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DEAR ABBY: I am a 46-year-old married man and have been with my wife for 23 years. We were both married before and have two children from our prior marriages. Our children are now grown and live their own lives.

I have recently learned that I'm terminally ill and, as I come to the end of my journey here on Earth, I need some advice. My son, 26, does not know he's not my biological child. His mother was pregnant when she met me and we never told him. As I make my final preparations, I am conflicted as to whether I should. How do I address this? Or do I even address it all?

If I do it before I pass away, I'm afraid he will be upset and angry and turn away from me. If I do it afterward, via taped video message or handwritten letter, I won't be there to answer the questions he's bound to have. Where do I go from here, Abby? -- UNSURE IN MISSOURI

DEAR UNSURE: Please accept my sympathy for your poor prognosis. Your situation is regrettable, but please don't shoulder all the blame. Your first wife shares some of it, too.

The young man has the right to know that, while you love him and have raised him as your own, he isn't your biological child. He should be told before your death, in person, and nothing should be left out. If possible, his mother should participate in the conversation. And if she knows who the father is, your son should have access to an accurate family medical history.

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What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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